The three day 4th Edition of The Bindura Arts Festival was to have run under the theme “Celebrating the diversity and richness of Zimbabwean arts and culture” this last March. Citing financial challenges the organisers later shifted the festival to April. This date too was soon changed with an announcement that the festival was being postponed until further notice. As they would say in ChiShona, “Ndiko kwakava kuenda kwerukuru,” – a tongue-in-cheek reference to the surreptitious, but not so subtle, reneging from a commitment. That is how the hype about a bigger and better festival seems to have fizzled out.
Day one as Pablo Nakappa, the events manager, had said; would have been for workshops with professionals from different sectors including poetry, theatre, music and dance in attendance to mentor young talent. That was a fantastic concept! If only…
The small and deceptively sleepy town of Bindura has a disproportionate abundance of skills and talent and is, in fact, a mega pool full of young talent sadly lacking platforms, mentors, nurturers and sponsorship. The mining town is home to many rising stars such as Freeman, Tocky Vibes, Don Gaga, David Hondoyedzomba, Princo Bindura and Jazzel to mention but a few. These mega stars in waiting only need the right kind of exposure, patronage and support to make Bindura explode. In several notable cases a few of the artists have, after getting some decent exposure and recognition, migrated to ‘where it’s at.’ Inevitably, this loss of talent has impoverished Bindura’s cultural life and heritage and also impacted negatively on the mentoring and nurturing programmes. Something needs to be done soon to stem the slide.
The line-up for the 4th Edition of the fete included artists such as Culture Spears (from Botswana) Guspy Warrior, Seh Calaz, Killer T, Freeman, Winky D, Jah Prayzah and Suluman among twenty-five artists from different genres.
The grand finale was to have been Women in Jazz featuring Edith weUtonga, Rute Mbangwa, Pah Chihera and Selmor Mtukudzi among others.
Bindura currently lingers on the outskirts of Zimbabwe’s artistic map. With the year swiftly coming to an end, the tempting question is, “Is the festival ever going to take place?” Unconfirmed reports of the incarceration of the event chairman, Saidi Umtali, are a further dampener.
“I haven’t been in touch with the chairman. He has gone quiet and his phone is not reachable. In short, I’m in the dark now,” says a bewildered Nakappa.